Are Juries Fair

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Are juries fair?

Cheryl Thomas

Ministry of Justice Research Series 1/10 February 2010

Are juries fair?

Cheryl Thomas

This information is also available on the Ministry of Justice website:

Constitution and Access to Justice – Analytical Services supports effective policy development and delivery within the Ministry of Justice by providing high-quality social research, statistics and economic analysis to influence decision-making and encourage informed debate.

© Crown Copyright 2010.

Extracts from this document may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes on condition that the source is acknowledged.

First Published 2010

ISBN: 978 1 84099 326 4

Research with juries rightly carries concerns about protecting the secrecy of deliberations, and I am especially grateful to Her Majesty’s Courts Service (HMCS) for facilitating my work with jurors at courts in London, Nottingham and Winchester, and to the jury officers, court managers and judges at these courts for their assistance. Nigel Balmer, UCL Faculty of Laws and Legal Services Research Centre, played a key role in modelling the analysis of CREST data in this report and made an important contribution to the study. Given the scope of the study and its implications for the criminal justice system, a special Project Steering Group was convened from the Ministry of Justice (MoJ), HMCS, Office for Criminal Justice Reform (OCJR), the judiciary, Attorney General’s Office and Home Office (HO), and I am grateful to all the members for providing invaluable advice on the research. The report also benefited greatly from advice and comments from: Miranda Hill, Lydia Jonson, Gary Hopper, Mike Ainsworth, John Marais, David Perry QC, Dr David Lagnado, Marc Davies, Tim Strouts, John Samuels QC, Tina Golton and three anonymous peer reviewers. Kevin Dibdin oversaw the provision of CREST data and Rachel Thomas helped collect data in the media reporting study. At MoJ’s Constitution and Access to Justice – Analytical Services (CAJAS), I am especially grateful to Jessica Haskins and Laura Blakeborough for overseeing the project and to Sally Attwood, Eleanor Brown and Michelle Diver for their assistance. Above all, I am indebted to all the jurors who must remain anonymous but so willingly agreed to participate in the studies and generously gave their time to assist with the research.

Professor Cheryl Thomas is a member of the Centre for Empirical Legal Studies in the Faculty of Laws at University College London. She is the author of Diversity and Fairness in the Jury System (2007), the precursor to this report. Professor Thomas is a specialist in judicial studies and has conducted research here and in other jurisdictions on juries, the role of diversity in the justice system, legal decisionmaking and the appointment and training of judges. She has served as a special consultant on judicial affairs to numerous organisations including Her Majesty’s Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate, Judicial Studies Board, Commission for Judicial Appointments, Council of Europe and the French government.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily shared by the Ministry of Justice (nor do they represent Government policy)

List of tables List of figures Summary 1. Context 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 2. The fairness of jury decision-making Racial discrimination Consistency of jury verdicts Comprehension of legal instructions Jury impropriety Impact of media coverage and the internet Main research questions i 1 1 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 7 7 10 12 14 14 26 35 40 45 51 53 54 Demographics of jurors and local populations in case simulations at Nottingham and Winchester Crown Courts Appendix 2: Case simulation juror decision-making data analysis 57 59

Approach 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Multi-method approach Case simulation Large-scale verdict analysis (CREST) Post-verdict...
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